Glide Path, by Arthur C. Clarke – 1963, 1965 [Harry Schaare]

glide-path-arthur-c-clarke-1963-1965-h-schaareSo this, Alan told himself without really believing it,
was probably the most dangerous moment of his life.
Introspection was not normally one of his vices;
he could worry with the best, but did not waste time watching himself worrying.
Yet now, as he roared across the night sky toward an unknown destiny,
he found himself facing that bleak and ultimate questions
which so few men can answer to their satisfaction.
What have I done with my life,
he asked himself,
that the world will be the poorer if I leave it now?

* * * * * * * * * *

He had no sooner framed the thought than he rejected it as unfair. 
At twenty-three,
no one could be expected to have made a mark on the world,
or even to have decided what sort of mark he wished to make.